Snake-Catcher Screwdriver

Don describes a modified “snake catcher” screwdriver in his light engine build notes [qv]. A small notch in the blade of the screwdriver allows one to wrange the wire into position, then hold it in place for soldering. I took a standard (non-reinforced) Dremel cut-off wheel and sliced a notch in a cheapo flatblade precision screwdriver. However, the resulting notch was too wide and would not securely hold the lead wires.

I figured a diamond wheel might work better, since they are considerably thinner than the standard cut-off wheels. However, a single genuine Dremel diamond wheel runs about $15. I found a five-pack of knock-off Chinese diamond wheels for $10 at Harbor Freight, and it even included a mandrel. The quality of these wheels is more than good enough for my purposes. The diamond wheel is about half the thickness of the standard cut-off wheel (o.5mm vs. 1.0mm), which was just about perfect.

Comparison of cut-off wheel and diamond wheel Closeup of modified screwdrivers Detail of screwdriver holding lead wire

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